Fall 2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Type of Paper/Work



Dr. Young-ok An, Dr. Alexis Easley, Dr. Kathryn Ledbetter


Thanks to the success of Frankenstein, scholars have begun to analyze one of Mary Shelley’s signature techniques, the frame narrative, within her other novels. However, scholarly discourse on the subject routinely leaves out one aspect of Shelley’s oeuvre that has received relatively little attention in general — her short stories for The Keepsake (1828-1857). In this essay, I propose that Shelley deliberately uses frame narratives in her short stories to both illuminate and deconstruct the structural, temporal and ideological constraints imposed upon her by publishing within the periodical space. Drawing on narratological and feminist readings of Shelley’s work, I illustrate how two of Shelley’s framed tales, “The Sisters of Albano” (1829) and “The Swiss Peasant” (1831), subtly call into question the “cult of beauty” and Romantic aestheticization of the “ordinary” within The Keepsake and other literary annuals. This argument thus fills a critical void in Shelley studies by properly contextualizing her tales within their own framing device, the literary annual itself.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.